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so talk to your doctor about low t. hey, michael! [ male announcer ] and step out of the shadows. hi! how are you? [ male announcer ] learn more at [ laughs ] hey! it's high noon here in the east. 9:00 a.m. in the west. welcome to "weekends with alex witt." big five trends of the hour. debate prep boot camp. friday night faux-pas. rose an barr on the presidential ballot? where? decked on board by the bus driver. softball mystery eyeball found on the beach. details on those stories but first -- two front page politics. big news on the ad front today from both catches. first up to the president's new tv ad that strikes a familiar theme. hitting mitt romney on his tax plan. take a listen. >> you paid 14% in federal taxes. that's the capital gains rate.
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is that fair to the guy who makes $50,000 and paid a higher rate than you did? so you think it is fair. >> yeah. i think it's the right way to encourage economic growth. >> lower tax rates for him, then us. is that the way to grow america? >> well, expect that one seen on a tv screen near you especially if you're in a swing state. from mitt romney and the gop meanwhile a new ad strategy. the "new york post" says romney and his colleagues are looking at a high rate high media strategy. pro romney ad buys double and even tripled in some key swing states this week. later today paul ryan wrapped up a campaign rally just a few short hours ago. he echoed a theme we heard in the debate friday night. >> the president had his chance. he had his choices. he came in with one-party rule. able to do everything on his own choosing. and just look at where we are
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now. 23 million americans are struggling for work today. in fact, since the president was elected, for every worker added, ten left the labor force. >> mitt romney is also campaigning in ohio today. he'll be making stops in portsmouth and lebanon later this afternoon. today president obama is taking a short trip to virginia to get ready for the next debate with mitt romney. nbc's mike viqueira is joining me live from the white house. a good saturday to you, my friend. are we getting a sense of how the president plans to approach this next debate? >> reporter: it's very interesting. the white house is normally tight-lipped about what the president is doing when we don't see him in public. they're extremely tight-lipped about the prep that he's going through this time. not in nevada this time. he's going to be very close by in another swing state, however, alex, in williamsburg, virginia. he's leaving the white house in just a few minutes. we expect he's going to be going down to williamsburg, three days, go to ground once again an intense preparation for the debate that comes up tuesday
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night at a university in long island new york not far from you. ohio no doubt about the fact it is very important. the president still enjoys a lead in some of the battle ground polls there. but in his weekly address today he's trying to ensure that he keeps that lead. talking about the auto industry. people associate it with michigan. but there's a great deal of auto industry in ohio as well. let's listen to what he had to say. >> today auto sales are the highest they've been in more than four years. g.m. is back. ford and chrysler are growing again. together our auto industry has created nearly a quarter of a million new jobs right here in america. >> reporter: after the debate where is the president going? iowa another swing state and ohio. we already saw that paul ryan and mitt romney are stumping there today. >> i'm curious, mike, why the president isn't able to just stay in the white house. is it because the oval office duties beckon too much? or does he go to virginia because he wants to do a campaign stop here and there? >> reporter: i think it's got a
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lot to do with it. it's a two-fer. there are no public events on the president's schedule in virginia. there were no events in nevada we were told about. but he did go to hoover dam, has photo ops. so it's a side benefit. it's like a camp, a retreat where they can concentrate on what they need to do tuesday night. >> i wonder if he's planning like a five guys outing, you know? >> reporter: could be. he loves his burgers. no questions. >> before i let you go, mike, can i just ask you, the ten or of things going into this debate prep? how stressful do you sense the white house is about this when you combine both the president's performance last week and then joe biden's this? maybe it picked up a little bit they think with joe biden. >> i think there's a sense of relief that biden did what he need to do in his debate on paul ryan on thursday night of course. that was give the red meat to
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the base, satisfy their appetite, get after paul ryan, get after the republicans, be more aggressive, fight back against what the republicans put forward that isn't necessarily true that doesn't jibe with the realities of what's happening around the world and around this country and especially in the economy. the president has said he was too polite. advisers intimate he's going to be more aggressive obviously. but still, joe biden is joe biden. he's the regular guy. joe six-pack from scranton. president obama, that's not his persona. having said all that, i think it's a fair assumption we're going to see a much more aggressive president obama on tuesday night. >> okay. mike. as always many thanks. we're getting an update on what the gop candidates are doing today in just a minute. first president obama may be reaching out to younger voters next week with another appearance on "the daily show with jon stewart." stewart criticized the president's performance in that first debate so there may be a few jokes at his expense. president obama will do the show on comedy central this coming thursday, two days after the second debate with mitt romney. superstar bruce springsteen is on the road this week.
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he's singing the praises of president obama. and on thursday the boss will be joined by former president bill clinton, another boss so to speak, at an event in ohio. it will be free to the public. well, the gop ticket is busy crisscrossing the crucial battle ground state of ohio again today. moments ago vice-president nomin nominee paul ryan wrapped up a campaign stop in youngstown. >> reporter: a good saturday to you, alex witt, from the battle ground state of ohio which has become in large part a home away from home for both the obama and the romney campaigns. they're spending a lot of time here, a lot of money here because of the role that ohio may ultimately play and who wins this election come november 6. last night mitt romney and paul ryan played to a large crowd in lancaster, ohio. there was a lot of enthusiasm, a lot of excitement in the air. and in large part because they believe the republicans believe
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they've won these first two debates. governor mitt romney had a pretty strong performance out in denver ten days ago. paul ryan had a pretty solid performance two nights ago down in kentucky. but that excitement and energy notwithstanding there's a lot of work left to be done for this ticket here in ohio. the president still shows a lead here in ohio, even though that lead has been chipped into over the last week or two, by about half in some of these polls. putting mitt romney within striking distance of the president. now, he may still, mitt romney may still have a challenge, a hurdle to clear with some undecided voters here. and that's surrounding this auto bailout. the president of course supported that bailout, pushed it through. the president and his campaign says that bailout saved hundreds of thousands of jobs not just in detroit but here in ohio and elsewhere around the country as well. we'll have to see whether governor romney will be able to close the deal with some undecided voters. potential challenge notwithstanding, paul ryan made the case again here today why he believes the country needs to make a change in the white
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house. >> right now people in the top two tax brackets, they can shelter a lot of their income from taxation by putting them in various tax loopholes. take away those tax shelters and more of their income is subject to taxation. so the base of income that is being taxed is bigger and broader. that means we can lower tax rates for everybody. >> reporter: now still a busy afternoon and evening ahead for the romney-ryan ticket. a couple of more events here in ohio. paul ryan then flies up to minnesota for a fundraiser, will end the night back home in janesville, wisconsin. he's expected to be off the campaign trail tomorrow, though he does have a fundraiser over in the milwaukee area. so perhaps a little rest for this road-weary congressman from wisconsin before we head into the stretch run to november 6. that's the latest from this stretch of the campaign trail, alex. let's send it back to you. >> ron, thank you very much. now to your weekend weather and a major storm threat for the nation's heart land today. here's a live look from the top of the rockefeller center here. it's a very chilly new york city where the ice rink, the rockefeller ice rink officially
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opened today. weather channel meteorologist maria la rosa joins me with the forecast. hello, maria. >> alex, good morning. we have a major storm system beginning to wrap up in through the central plains. you can see with the clouds and the showers and thunderstorms already beginning to develop. this is the area that will likely see severe weather throughout the day. and unfortunately it does mean the potential for a few tornadoes as this area of low pressure develops it's going to drag through a cold front and it's right in that area between the cold front and the warm front, western missouri into oklahoma into texas, that we have the highest risk for those strong thunderstorms. the gusty winds, heavy rain and isolated tornadoes. notice on the northern side, too, from madison to minneapolis it's warm enough for rain. we could see a few thunderstorms there as well. it's just not going to be a cold system. as it continues to push off to the east notice that area in yellow. that's the area highlighted for the potential risk of stronger thunderstorms tomorrow. so from the ohio valley, including cincinnati, down into memphis, there, too, a smaller risk of isolated tornadoes but
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not zero. so we're going to keep a close eye on that. in the meantime the rest of sunday's weather still nice afternoon from the northeast to the southeast. temperatures there getting a rebound after some chilly starts. notice the west, too, the pacific northwest places like seattle getting pretty active with more rain expected there even on into monday. and notice temperatures taking a rebound as well in the southwest. back up into the 90s for phoenix. alex, back to you. >> okay, maria, thank you so much for that. west coast headlines are next. splashed across one prominent front page how an attack half the world away is stirring outrage in headlines here in the u.s. and it is an election phenomenon that's hard to believe but it is true. how sharks and ohio state football could affect the presidential winner. plus in office politics, a dose of morning joe. i asked joe about the impending fiscal cliff. and who's to blame for it. it is a multipart answer you're going to want to hear right here on "weekends with alex witt."
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some headlines making news out on the west coast, the los angeles times has a story on the outrage following the taliban's attack on the school girl in pakistan. the article quotes experts who say although many people are upset about the shooting there are tomorrow obstacles that would lead to a crackdown against islamic militants in that country. the salt lake tribune has a story on how enrollment at utah's public colleges has fallen for the first time in four years. some schools have made admissions tougher. others foresee enrollments slipping as more students opt
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for mormon missions. the idaho press tribune has a story on how popular movies and shows have the biggest influence on the costumes people pick for hallowe'en. according to a new poll 41% of the people plan on dressing up as post apocalyptic walkers inspired no doubt by the walking dead. americans are expected to spend 10% more this hallowe'en than in years past. president obama's in virginia today preparing for the next presidential debate on tuesday. so for more on that a new fallout from this week's vice-president debate i'm joined by national political reporter for the atlantic molly ball and national political reporter for politico david catanese. good to see you. >> we'll go ladies first for you, molly. we've had 36 hours or so to digest the vice-president debate. is there any consensus on whether this might move the needle in the presidential election? >> i think the impression that has sort of gelled in the time that we've had to process what happened on -- in kentucky is
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that biden really stole the show. so even though most people scored it sort of a draw, biden succeeded in sort of changing the subject, getting the focus back on him and making us talk about that instead of talking about how much momentum that romney had out of that last debate and how little obama did for himself. it still rides on the presidential candidates on the top of the ticket to really set the narrative at that next debate on tuesday. but i think this impression that biden accomplished an important goal for the democrats is sinking in. >> yeah. until we get to tuesday we're still talk about this, david. there have been several articles written about joe biden's smiling during parts of the debate. so what are the conventional wisdom? did any of that take aby from the impact of his performance? >> i think it did a bit. if you talk to republicans in the aftermath of the debate that's what they wanted to talk about. joe biden unhinged, unserious, sort of laughing through serious
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questions about foreign policy. and frankly, they thought he was rude. but look, the romney campaign is trying to season this a little bit. i know they are up with a radio ad in ohio sort of seizing on his laughter during some of the foreign policy questions and the narrater says, look, the obama-biden ticket is not taking foreign policy issues seriously. so they're going to try to move that narrative a bit. but again, molly's right that this all resets tuesday in the leadup to the presidential debate and much of the vice-presidential stuff will then wash away. >> do you think that the vice president was laughing with a tone of mockery or an incredulous expressing the fact he could not believe what he was hearing? was that lost on the average person? >> i don't think we know yet. i haven't seen much polling. the polling that's come out from people that watched it sort of showed a wash. some had biden in these instant polls showing biden won, others
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had ryan. both sides did what they wanted to do. i mean, this was very much to the base. biden i think if you talk to liberals they liked that he was energetic and in your face and sort of mocking paul ryan. of course republicans had the opposite reaction. the key is what did that 5, 6% who's left out there, and i don't think we know that yet. >> i'm sure we'll find out. how about with you, molly? i mentioned that the president is in virginia today for debate camp for about three days. is there any sense of what his takeaways might be from what we saw thursday night? >> absolutely. i think one thing that biden was clearly trying to do was to bring an aggressiveness to that debate that obama so starkly failed to bring in his debate performance. and democrats really want more of that. they feel like biden proved that it's possible to sort of nail these guys on what they believe are inconsistencies and mischaracterizations. and you know, i totally agree with dave. biden was odd.
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he was kind of irritating. he was goofy. but he landed a lot of blows. he really did bring out a lot of points about everything from taxes to foreign policy to social security. and so that's what democrats want to see from obama. and that's clearly what obama is preparing to do is to try to go at romney a little harder than he did last time. >> you know, david, as the president studies, are there any clear openings that paul ryan left for him to exploit when he faces mitt romney tuesday? >> well, you usually don't punch down if you're the president. i don't think that he's going to be going after paul ryan on tuesday. i would say one moment that stuck out to me that sort of had ryan on defense was the stimulus. when they talked about the stimulus and biden looked at him and said, you requested grant money. i remember. i got the letter. and you know, ryan really didn't have a convincing answer for that. for a ticket that goes around the country hammering the stimulus, his name as a
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congressman was on some of these letters asking for some grant money project. and i think that sort of feeds into the narrative that mitt romney and paul ryan aren't who they say they are. in the primaries they're running to the right. now they're running to the center. so i could see the stimulus argument possibly coming up. but not in the context of ryan. he'll put it right at romney. >> that was one big punch. what about the counter punch, molly, the libya attack question? how has the administration been approaching its response now? it appears the romney camp is really racheting up its offensive on that. >> absolutely. there's a lot of really serious questions about this attack. we have the administration's story keeps changing. we have a terrorist attack on 9/11 that still we don't know enough about. but it's been a tough thing for romney and ryan to make break through as a political issue, partly because people are so focused on the economy.
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you saw it in debate with ryan and biden. this should have been the biggest opening for ryan. and biden actually didn't tell the truth about what the administration knew about this attack. he contradicted his own state department. but ryan failed to call him on it. instead biden sort of cornered ryan into a situation where he ended up defending sort of bush's unpopular foreign policy instead. and so that i think was a major missed opportunity for ryan. and something romney is going to have to be prepared to do in the next presidential debate is really bring out and make that a focus that this whole situation with foreign policy. >> so david, what about conventional wisdom out there on who's going to be better in the town hall form style. what are you hearing? >> i think obama has higher expectations now because of his flat first performance. i think the key for him is how much energy does he show without going overboard here? biden is sort of his own guy there. but the president has to know,
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he basically has admitted himself he has to up his game. coming out of this debate, the vice-president debate which was very raucous, these guys were going at it, interrupting each other. i think you'll have to see more energy from obama. he needs a win in this second debate because of what happened in the first one. >> conversely, molly, how about higher expectations with regard to mitt romney? if he doesn't hit it out of the park, is that he's raised the bar so high for himself now we'll be talking about how poorly he did even if it's like average? >> well, he certainly showed what he can do. if there was any doubt about whether romney has the chops to stand on that stage with obama, he erased it. but i think dave's right that a lot of the expectations are still on obama. i mean, from the democrats the rationale for that performance has been that he was off his game or he had the wrong strategy, not that he's just terrible at this debating thing. so the idea is that he'll have a new strategy. he'll have his head in the game more. and people are expecting to see
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a more animated, more energized obama. i think he's the one that the expectations are really on. although of course, romney will have to live up to the standard he has set. >> okay. molly ball, david catanese, always living up to the high standards we have for you two. thank you. sharks and college football. how the two can affect the outcome of the presidential election. but first number three in our first five web stories. rose ann barr is on the florida ballot. yep the presidential ballot. the outspoken entertainer will represent the peace and -- for the legalization of marijuana and same-sex marriage. bp has paid over twenty-three billion dollars to help those affected and to cover cleanup costs. today, the beaches and gulf are open, and many areas are reporting
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their best tourism seasons in years. and bp's also committed to america. we support nearly 250,000 jobs and invest more here than anywhere else. we're working to fuel america for generations to come. our commitment has never been stronger.
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huge shuttle through the streets after a year of precise planning. it's headed for its new home at the california science center. the tricky part comes when the shuttle travels down narrow republican streets and they have to remove power lines and trees. endeavor is expected to reach the museum sometime tonight. time now for what's on our list of number ones for you. it's the home of the ohio state university. it tops forbes magazine's new list of the best cities for working moms. columbus, ohio gets top billing partly because it's the most affordable city on the list, plus women there earn above average salaries. new orleans is the runner-up. hartford, connecticut, cincinnati, ohio and providence, rhode island. worst? los angeles. new york ties london as the best city for economic opportunity. the new global rankings come from price water house coopers partnership for new york city. toronto third followed by paris
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and stockholm. hawaii airlines first in ontime arrivals. oops united the worst. >> everybody need a hobby. >> so what's yours? >> resurrection. >> 007 is also the most influence man in the survey. olympic gold medallist usain bolt second and former president bill clinton third. president obama is 11th but ahead of mitt romney in 24th. that's your number ones on "weekends with alex witt." ♪ these are... [ male announcer ] marie callender's puts everything you've grown to love about sunday dinner into each of her pot pies. tender white meat chicken and vegetables in a crust made from scratch. marie callender's. it's time to savor.
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welcome back to "weekends with alex witt." just past the half hour now. with 24 days to go until election day, the republican ticket is crisscrossing the battle ground state of ohio. after a paul ryan rally in youngstown earlier, mitt romney
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has stopped in -- vice-president biden spent friday meeting voters in wisconsin. president obama does not have any scheduled public events today. the ratings are in. more than 50 million people watched the vice-president debate this week which is nearly 20 million viewers than the debate four years ago between joe biden and sarah palin. but excluding 2008, nielsen said this debate has more viewers than any vice president debate since 1994. meanwhile the fight for bragging rights over the victor in thursday's debate seems to fall, as you might expect, along party lines. both sides suggesting their candidate outperformed the other. here are a couple of exchanges on the economy. >> joe and i are from similar towns. he's from scranton, pennsylvania. i'm from st. louis, wisconsin. you know what the unemployment rate in scranton is today? >> i sure do. >> it's 10%. >> yeah. >> you know what it was the day you guys came in? 8.5%. that's how it's going all around
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america. >> look, you don't read the statistics. that's not how it's going. it's going down. >> two-minute answer, please. >> he did ask for stimulus money, right? >> we advocated for constituents applying for grants. that's what we do. we do that for all constituents. >> i love that. i love that. this was such a bad program and he writes me a letter saying -- writes to the department of energy saying the reason we need this stimulus it will create growth and jobs. his words. >> time now for today's strategy talk. and joining me, joe watkins, republican strategist and former white house adviser under president george h.w. bush and karen finny from the dnc communications director and msnbc political analyst. glad to have you both here. opinions here. joe, it seems a lot gop members were critical of vice president joe biden on his style, smiling and interrupting. do they think joe biden won on
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substance? >> from one smiling joe to another, no, i thought vice president biden did a good job at the debate. i thought he was very aggressive. i thought paul ryan, on the other hand, did a very strong job, a very solid job. he had a mastery of the facts. he not only held his own but he made a lot of good points. i think he had the vice president on the defensive on the issue of libya and the obama administration actions with regards to libya. i think it was a good debate. >> except you know the clip that we played there about the stimulus? that was a tough one, right? joe? >> well, of course i mean vice president biden is very, very good on his feet, very quick on his feet. i think it was a very strong performance on his part. i think paul ryan did a great job also. but vice president biden is very strong. >> karen, let's talk about all that smiling and interrupting. your unvarnished take. do you wish the vice president had backed off even a little? because then we wouldn't even be
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talking about his style. >> the only reason we're talking about his style is because the republicans can't seem to take a punch. last week when our guy didn't do so well we took hit. we admitted it and we moved on. this week when it was a commanding performance for romney, all of a sudden joe biden is being rude. frankly, there were so many moments where biden could have further corrected paul on a marathon runner ryan, come on, this guy was so fast and loose with the facts. marine guards, as an example. they are there to guard information. it has nothing to do with the security on the ambassador. basically he essentially said they would commit ground forces in syria. there were a lot of missteps there that ryan made. i think biden focused on the biggest ones. and certainly i thought the stimulus was important. i thought it was important when he talked about ronald reagan and the point that there were details on the table. >> yeah. can i say, though, yes, you guys
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definitely took the hit and you owned it and said he did not do a good job. but it's not like he did that lying down, karen. you all came back and you said that mitt romney was untruthful, that he had his facts wrong. there was all that, too. >> but he did. my point is that with regard to our own guy's performance, we took it. we said, you know what, he didn't do as well as we would have liked. the truth is that mitt romney did lie. we can't just let these things -- this campaign has been notable for the lack of truthfulness coming from the romney-ryan team. we just can't take that anymore without pushing back on it. >> you know, joe, one observation i made, joe, was that mitt romney looked like he had been an excellent student for the few days leading up to the event, that he had studied certainly prepared. it was almost like he was going through an oral board exam or something and he just shot back with facts and figures and the like. but you know, were all those facts and figures absolutely correct? a lot of people have been challenging them. >> well, i think they were.
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i think that there's a real effort on the part of candidates to be honest and accurate when they're engaged in a debate. of course, nobody has the capacity to have the written papered in front of them. so sometimes mistakes are made. but i think that the effort is made by candidates, certainly by mitt romney to get to tell it like it is and tell the truth. >> nick wants me to get in something here. he wants to talk about libya. i want to talk about paul ryan on libya and his take on the administration's explanations. let's play it. >> this is becoming more troubling by the day. they first blamed the youtube video. now they're trying to blame the romney-ryan ticket for making this an issue. >> karen, before the debate an obama campaign spokesperson said that romney-ryan are bringing up this issue for political reasons. do you agree with that or is this an issue that warrants more facts to the public on what happened? >> i think we have to separate out out two things. of course the administration
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takes this seriously. of course there's an investigation ongoing. but remember, it was romney himself who said in that secret video from boca raton that if a situation came up that he could exploit, a foreign policy situation, he would do so. so he has no credibility trying to now say that they're not politicizing it. the truth of the matter is they are politicizing it. again if we weren't looking at this in the context of four weeks out from a political campaign, of course there are relevant questions to be asking here. and again i think the administration is with ambassador pickering sort of leading that process trying to conduct an investigation. look at the travesty we had this week -- hold on. darrel issa and republicans in congress can't be bothered to come back here and actually do the people's business but they're going to come back here and have a hearing where they expose a cia operation? are you kidding me? of course they're politicizing this. >> of course there are political implications that happened in libya. we lost a u.s. ambassador. that's always a tragedy anytime
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there's a loss of u.s. life abroader that's always a tragedy for america. and then we have to consider how did we get there? what happened? how did it happen? then what is this administration's policy with regards to that. how does this administration safeguard its u.s. ambassadors for the u.s. [ overlapping speakers ] >> these are serious and hard questions to ask. of course they come in the middle of a campaign so they have political implications. >> romney and ryan have been pushing this whole ridiculousness about apologizing for our values and apologizing for america when what we now know is that the folks in the embassy in egypt were actually trying to stop violence. they weren't apologizing. come on, joe. >> listen, guys. i want to ask a question about medicare here. this goes to you, joe. because paul ryan, he was forced to try to explain his medicare proposal in the debate. he said no one over 55 would be affected. those under 55 would get some version of medicare. but that seemed vague. isn't that a losing proposition? don't you think people under 55 want greater assurances? >> well, they do want greater
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assurances. i think paul ryan wants to give them to him. he is somebody who knows how to deal with detail. rye romney-ryan ticket would be one that would of work with democrats as well as republicans. the importance here is having bipartisan support when you put forward the measure. the measure we call obama care was passed with democratic support but not very much republican support. paul ryan and mitt romney would work with democrats to fashion legislation that works for all americans. and that's the point he was trying to make. >> okay. i want you to two to call each other and say that you still care. >> karen is one of my favorite people. >> absolutely. on medicare joe biden said it all when he looked directly into the camera and talked to seniors. i think enough said there. >> karen finny and joe walker, good to see you both. thanks, guys. a new article suggests that the real deciding factors for the presidential election could come down to, you ready for this, sharks and football. this morning i spoke with
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royaltiers euters news agencier >> what really decides the election is weather shark attacks or football games. >> woodrow wilson, all the shark attacks off the coast of new jersey in his election people thought it was his fault. when it is as you're right a true definition of a natural disaster. >> right. right. so there's a spate of shark attacks off the coast of new jersey. people get all freaked out and everybody cancels their hotel reservations and said we're not going to the beach this summer because we may get chewed up by a shark. so there's a bit of a recession there. and the federal government they're saying can the federal government help? and woodrow wilson actually had a cabinet meeting and pulled everybody together. they figured out we can't really do much about shark attacks. when the election came around that fall, wilson did 8 points worse in those beach towns that were affected by the shark attacks than in the rest of new jersey where he did the same. >> interesting, huh? so we've been asking you all day
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will you base your vote on the dmi or social issues? here are some of your tweets. valerie crabtree says i will vote based on social issues. if you can't get a job because of discrimination, health of the economy is irrelevant to you. joe debt ton tweets, social issues. the democrats ticket fights for are the ultimate answer to helping our economy. middle class tax -- finally, mary richards add "either or? no. it's the whole package. keep talking to me. my handle is @alexwit. now to number two of on our first five web stories, a story befitting of this hallowe'en season. a florida man found a strange eyeball. that's a legit one right there. it happened during his morning walk on the beach. this blue orb was the size of a softball. it was still bleeding when he picked it up and called police. officials still don't know where it came from. a representative from the
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florida fish and wildlife institute thinks it may be from a giant squid, a whale, or some type of large fish. welcome aboard! [ chuckles ] ♪ [ honk! ] ♪ [ honk! ] ♪ [ honk! ] ♪ [ male announcer ] now you'll know when to stop. [ honk! ] the all-new nissan altima with easy fill tire alert. [ honk! ] it's our most innovative altima ever. nissan. innovation that excites. ♪
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[ female announcer ] tide plus bleach is now tide vivid! new look. same powerful clean. in today's then and now, the swing states of the 1980 election. here's how anchor john chancellor broke it down 32 years ago today. here's a warning, though. don't get confused by the colors. >> looking at the whole country, here are the states we see as solid for carter. and the states leaning toward carter. these are the states we believe to be solid for reagan. and here are states leaning to reagan. the white states we tally as tossups, too close to call. we have moved two important states into the tossup category, texas and new jersey, which were shown leaning to reagan last week. if the election were held today, and it won't be, we show reagan getting 190 electoral votes,
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carter 144 with 204 electoral votes in the undecided states seen here in white. it takes 270 to win. >> now all these years later as you can tell the colors have changed quite a bit. florida remains a tossup. texas is now a red state and the west coast states are still blue. but now it's blue for the democrats. in this week's office politics, we talked to the stars of our morning crew, joe scarborough and mika brezinski. i started by asking joe about the fiscal cliff and who's to blame for our nation's $16 trillion national debt. >> everyone. when i left congress we had $155 billion surplus. by the time george w. bush left office eight years later we had a $1 trillion deficit. republicans doubled the national debt from 5 trillion to 10, 11 trillion. barack obama has taken the 11 trillion to 16, 17 trillion. under his own proposals and his own projections, that national
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debt will go over 20 trillion by the time he leaves office. both parties have been reckless and irresponsible. >> so is there any way to reduce it here in the u.s. without extreme austerity measures? >> well, we're going to see what happens when we reach the fiscal cliff. i think there is a way. >> are we going over that cliff? >> i don't think so. >> do you think they're going to come together before january 2nd? >> only because you're going to have enough ceos and people who contribute to democrats and republicans alike that go, kids, kids, come here. come here. let's gather around. we're going to stop supporting you if you don't stop acting so reckless. they've got no choice. the markets are going to kill us. you know, right now we've got again 16, $17 trillion national debt. this past year. every dime that we took in as a government paid for three programs. medicare, medicaid and social security. and also paid for servicing the national debt.
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about 25300 billion dollars. interest rates are at historic lows. if interest rates jump up a couple points suddenly it's $1 trillion we're having to pay the national debt which will cause deficits to go up, cause the debt to go up, cause interest rates to down which will cause go back to the beginning. the servicing of the debt to go up. it's a vicious cycle. we've got no choice. >> so wait a minute. are you telling me if this president is re-elected the parties are going to work together in a lame duck session to get this done? >> i think whoever is elected has no choice but to get this done. >> how about the latino vote? where does that stand now? and how is it that it feels like republicans have lost that vote when george w. bush owned it? >> he really did. i mean, by republican standards george w. bush did really well with the latino vote. jeb bush in my home state of florida when he ran for governor, he owned the latino vote. right now it's looking really
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bad for republicans. but again, that's part of the process of the primary where each republican tried to go further and further right on immigration and it was seen -- they were seen as being people who were bashing immigrants. even if they were trying to take a strong stand on illegal immigration. >> republicans have been accused of being obstructionist to this president's attempts at policy making. >> right. >> what's your thought on that? >> if only they could be as kind-hearted and giving and loving as democrats were to george w. bush. it makes me sad sometimes to think of how sweet nancy pelosi and harry reid were -- oh, wait a second. now they tried to stop him. >> wow the sarcasm dripping. >> oh, wait a second. they actually harry reid called george w. bush a loser while george w. bush had a difficult foreign trip. yeah, you know what? this happens in washington. and if you can't handle it, then
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sell bagels. i actually love bagels. we need more people selling bagels. at the end of the day though, alex, you know what people are concerned about whether you're talking about men or women, whether you're talking about straight voters of gay voters, pro-life voters or pro-choice voters, they're interested in the economy turning around. they're interested in being able to keep their job. they're interested if they're a single mom in getting a job. if you're a single mom and you're concerned about these social issues, you put them there. you look at the economic issues. and if you have to choose between the person that's going to agree with you on social issues or choose the person that you believe is going to get you back to work and allow you to put food on the table, allow you to pay for your kids' high school or college or whatever, you know what? you might just grit your teeth and vote for the person who you may disagree with on social issues. >> tomorrow at this time we're going to have more with our morning joe team.
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you might not be surprise today hear that mika thinks mitt romney is a goober but you may be surprised by joe's assessment of barack obama's chances to win the election. now number four in our first five web stories. decked on board. new video released of a cleveland bus driver punching a female passenger then throwing her off his bus. the video was reported by a fellow passenger. witnesses say the 25-year-old woman had been taunting him during the ride. well, the driver who's working for cleveland's regional transit authority for 22 years has been suspended pending the investigation. wow! against these digestive issues with three strains of good bacteria. approved! [ phillips' lady ] live the regular life. phillips'.
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in a matter of weeks we could hear a supreme court voting on university of texas which seeks to end race as a factor in college admissions. joining me counselor at nyu school of law. glad you're here to talk about
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this. justin elaine kagan recused herself so that leaves us with eight justices. read the tea leaves. >> a 4-4 split the court goes to the lower court and the courtsided with a university of texas. a tie goes to the affirmative action program. so what we're looking for still is how justice kennedy is going to decide this case. that will determine whether it's a 4-4 decision or 5-3 decision against the university of texas. as usual he gave elliptic cal comments in both directions during the oral argument. so it's a little bit hard to call which way he's going to go. >> not a good chance the university of texas which is outright win. >> president kennedy has said there might be a program that passes muster. he's never approved affirmative action program. during the argument he said race counts for everything, right? that's actually a very bad sign for the university of texas because he's not like people
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being categorized solely on the basis of race. >> chief justice roberts was the surprise vote to uphold the health care law. but is there any chance he may rule again with his more liberal colleagues? >> i'm not holding my breath on that one, alex. so i don't think chief justice roberts is like that. i don't think he sort of swings with political tides in that way. i think he's actually a very principled juryist. he has articulated what his principle is in the 2007 case where he said the way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race. so his position is very clear. i think he's going to vote to strike down this program. >> 2003 found the court ruling in favor of the university of michigan law school's use of affirmative action. what makes this case different? >> it's a wonderful question. if you actually look at the programs, this program is actually much more modest in terms of the racial preference it gives in the 2003 case. you and i are kind of rubber hit the road people. so i think we can just call it as we see it. what's changed, alex, since 2003
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is the personnel of the court. so justice o'connor who was part of the 5-4 majority in the 2003 case has been replaced with justice olito who's much more conservative on these issues. that's why they're considering this case. justice o'connor was in the courtroom on wednesday during oral arguments. it must have been a poignant moment for her. she said i expect this to last for 25 years. nine years later we are considering her ruling. >> how do you expect this to impact college admissions if it is approved? >> it will affect not only how public universities across the country deal with their admissions processes but it will also affect how any private university receiving federal funds deals with add missions policies. as the court has interpreted title vi, the civil rights act of 1964, the private universities have to follow whatever the supreme court says with respect to public
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universities. and so this is often misunderstood as only affecting public universities. but title vi leverages the effect of this to private universities as well. >> everyone gets affected ultimately. good to see you. thanks for coming in. >> thanks for having me. in our next hour former ohio congressman dennis kucinich joins me live. we're going to talk about cutting entitlements while ensuring the survival of medicare. ase in clinical depression. drug and alcohol abuse is up. and those dealing with grief don't have access to the professional help they need. when you see these issues, do you want to walk away or step up? with a degree in the field of counseling or psychology from capella university, you'll have the knowledge to make a difference in the lives of others. let's get started at
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[ laughing ] [ laughing ]
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[ laughing ] [ laughing ] ♪ welcome to "weekends with alex witt." let's get to what's happening out there right now. front page politics. new today president obama is preparing for the second presidential debate in virginia. ahead of tuesday's debate, the president is touting the success of the u.s. auto bailout in his weekly address. >> today auto sales are the highest they've been in more than four years. g.m. is back. ford and chrysler are growing again. together our auto industry has created nearly a quarter of a
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million new jobs right here in america. >> at the same time, mitt romney and paul ryan are campaigning across the battle ground state of ohio. congressman ryan rallied voters in youngstown earlier today. >> your share of the debt has gone up to $51,000 for every man, woman and child in america. a 45% increase in the individual burden of debt to every single american. we're heading in the wrong direction. >> a new video of mitt romney arriving at his columbus hotel. earlier he spent time with ohio senator rob portman preparing for the debate. right now romney is heading to a rally in portsmouth, ohio begins about an hour or so from now. he will then travel to lebanon for an event there. nbc's peter alexander knows all too well the schedule. he's traveling with the romney campaign and joins us live on the phone. a good saturday to you, peter. i know the challenger has a very busy schedule in ohio today. >> reporter: he does. exactly right. he's trying to take advantage of the enthusiasm that his campaign feels that it's had since mitt romney's strong debate per formance now more than a week
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ago. this is the fifth consecutive day that in some form we have seen romney in the state of ohio. and the crowd have been swelling. earlier in the week on tuesday he had about 12,000 people. on wednesday in sid nirks ohio close to 9,000. last evening at an event we were at he had nearly 9,000 as well. they're hoping to really sort of emphasize in this community, in these parts of the state the need for a change as goes in terms of the economy. he believes mitt romney does that he is the one who can offer better solutions for the people here. but he's also been krcritical o the president lately on the evolving response of the attack to libya that left four americans including the ambassador dead. here were some comments by mitt romney on that topic yesterday in richmond, virginia. >> the vice president directly contradicted the sworn testimony of state department officials. he's doubling down on denial. and we need to understand
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exactly what happened as opposed to just having people brush this aside. >> reporter: those comments were referring to the vice president who said in the debate that quote we didn't know the embassy had asked for more security before the attack, even though state department officials already testified to the contrary earlier this week. >> all right, peter, thank you very much. safe travels. we appreciate that. let's go now to the president' agenda for today to nbc's mike viqueira who joins me live from the white house. mike a hello to you again. >> reporter: hello. >> let's talk about this obama campaign tv ad that's new out there. what's in this thing? >> reporter: i think this is an effort to go back to the formula that worked for them over the course of the past few months. when the president was building up a big lead not only nationally but in the all-important swing states like ohio, like virginia. and alex let me warn you right away, if you start to hear sirens and things of that nature, a bit of commotion at the white house. that's because the president is about to embark on his trip, beginning his trip very close to here, williamsburg, virginia,
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about a two-hour drive south where he's going to be going to ground. another one of those debate camps, training camps if you will over the course of the next three days much like he did in another swing state of nevada leading up to that first debate. of course the president is campaign aides as well as the most die-hard obama supporters are hope, that he has a better performance this time. he's going to be there for three days. we don't expect a lot of public events on the schedule at all. meantime back to your question, the president did release that campaign ad. you talk about ohio. you talk about the importance of the auto industry there. the president trying to capitalize on that. let's listen. >> you paid 14% in federal taxes. that's the capital gains rate. is that fair to the guy who makes $50,000 and paid a higher rate than you did? so you think it is fair. >> yeah. i think it's the right way to encourage economic growth. >> lower tax rates for him than us. is that the way to grow america? >> reporter: that was -- he's
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not talk about the auto industry. this was again something that had worked for the obama campaign earlier. that is the so-called likability gap attacking mitt romney saying he's out of touch with regular people, that he's paying a ridiculously low amount of tax, the same tax that millionaires pay on carried interest not what regular folks are paying in income tax. 14% is what mitt romney paid over the course of the last couple years. those are for the tax returns that he's released to the public, alex. >> okay. thank you very much, mike viqueira for that. joining me now for more front page politics, national political reporter for the "washington post" amy gardner and staff reporter for mother jones andy krall. good to see you both. thanks for joining me. >> amy in this art quell you write about this being the most narrow electoral map in recent history. how narrow is it for both candidates? >> if you look at the map of the country there are 22 states that both campaigns agree are definitely going to vote for governor romney. and there are 14 states that will definitely vote for obama. both campaigns agree with.
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this obama actually has the advantage in population in electoral votes even though romney has more states in that count. that leaves 14 states, nine of which are the battle grounds in which this campaign is basically being waged. that's where the appearances are. that's where the money is being spent. there are an additional five states, michigan is among them, pennsylvania, new mexico, arizona, where the sides don't agree that their foregone conclusions they're not really spending a great deal of resources. those nine states, they've been consistently those nine states over the course of the year. i think that's one of the things that's most interesting, it's been narrow and consistent throughout the year. >> so andy, this new report that mitt romney and the gop are really doubling and tripling their ad buys in several of the swing states with 24 days to go until the election, how much impact does all this ad money really have on voters? >> well, voters especially in those nine battle ground states that amy mentioned have been inundated with tense of thousands of campaign ads from the spring to the summer and
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especially now, august, september, october. we're getting to a point where voters are almost saturated and really they can't handle any more. they don't want to see any more of these television ads. the romney campaign is putting in this last-minute blitz on, they are flooding these battle ground states. they are trying to get their message out. trying to capitalize on that strong debate performance. the important questions will voters care, are they already overwhelmed at this point. and two is it too late for the romney campaign and for the superpacs on his side to try to make their man look better after taking such a beating from the obama campaign and their allies in august and september. >> you have to wonder if there's just diminishing returns here. the money they're investing in the ad buys really isn't that a concern? >> well, it is. but i mean, they have money. their cover coffers are full. their superpacs are flushed with cash. they'll be flooding the airways all the way up until election day in addition to getting out the vote and getting boots on the ground.
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but academics reports, lots of folks say that voters eventually get to the point especially in ohio and virginia where they don't want to absorb any more information and they're just tuning out. you do have to wonder about the wisdom of pours tens of millions of dollars into states where folks have heard what they want to hear and they've made up their mind. >> good question. amy we are a couple of days removed from the vice president debate. did joe biden's performance key it up for the president? >> well, there's no question that vice president biden did exactly what the campaign wanted him to do, which is to go out on that stage and be extremely aggressive. certainly there's debate about whether he was too aggressive and there are also some things that he said that have come under the microscope, notably his attacks on the u.s. embassy in libya. but the obama campaign acknowledges publicly that president obama needs to deliver a stronger performance, a much stronger performance than he did last week. and i think that vice president biden's performance this week
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tells a tale of what they hope out of the president on tuesday. >> andy, vice president's answer on libya? saying the white house was unaware of any extra security requested by the u.s. consulate there. it is already been pounced on by mitt romney. and somewhat clarified by the white house. does this pose a real problem for the campaign? >> it opens up a new front for attack from romney and the superpac on which to criticize the president and the vice president. the president has stressed his foreign policy successes, take out osama bin laden among other things. this is another headache for them. we have to be clear, the white house has come out and said, vice president joe biden was not referring to the administration at large he was referring to himself, the president and the white house. they don't receive every request for resources that is made by the state department. but it is another problem for them. you're going to see anytime the debate. you're going to see it in television ads. we're already seeing it on the campaign stump. i'm sure it's a minor mistake that they'd rather have avoided.
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>> and if you look ahead to the presidential debate on tuesday, it's style town hall format, amy, questions from the audience. do you see either the president or mitt romney having an advantage with this type of format? >> well, it's interesting. one thing that somebody in the campaign told me is that there is concern about whether it will be appropriate for president obama to be as aggressive as we have for example saw vice president biden be this week when a member of the public is asking a question should the president then be very aggressive to mitt romney on the stage and will that play well. we know that president obama was not viewed as a particularly strong debater in 2008. we also know that governor romney is not viewed as strong in appearing human and in touch with regular people. and so i think that this format presents challenges for both of them. >> amy gardner and andy kroll, good to see both you guys. appreciate it. at the half hour congressman dennis kucinich talks about the fiscal cliff and where he would be willing to compromise or would he?
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some of the major issues raised in thursday's debate were the attacks on the benghazi mission in libya. four americans died in that attack. vice president joe biden and paul ryan clashed on what happened. >> this issue would be a tragedy in and of itself. unfortunately it's indicative of a bigger problem. it's the unraveling of the obama foreign policy. >> with all due respect that's a
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bunch of malarkey. >> joining me is joe rubin, a middle east officer now director of policy and government affairs. welcome i'm glad to have you here, joel. >> thank you. happy to be here. >> mr. biden said he and the president did not know about the actual conditions in benghazi. joel, is that likely that the white house could get that level or detail of information or not? what do you think they actually know? >> the white house is not in on every decision made about security at consulates. and these are the types of decisions that as we heard in testimony this week by the state department, these are details that end up in the hands of senior officials at the state department. folks who work in regional bureaus who handle diplomatic security. they have to, however, assess between the variety of difficult circumstances where to put the right resources, what embassy, what consulates have the most threats, the most need. it's a very complicated task. >> when you say "they" were you referring to the senior state
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department officials that you spoke about or white house officials? >> state department officials. again who testified this past week. they gave insight into that process. >> right. that being eric nordstrom. he's one who did that. he said they did not get the extra people they had requested. let's listen to him. here he is. >> it was abundantly clear we were not going to get resources until the aftermath of an incident. and the question that we would ask is again, how thin does the ice have to get before someone falls through. >> now, i guess what makes things complicated is the location of where they were. a lot of complications about having more americans in libya, right? >> this is a very complicated situation. as nordstrom himself said as well, even if they had received the level of support they had askeded for, it still would not have repeld this attack. this was a highly advanced and
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effective unfortunately guerilla attack against an installation that was not a primary mission in libya. that's in tripoli. that's where the embassy is. that's where most of the resources are spent. so as the appeals for more resources are going to need to be understood, and this is certainly why the state department now has an investigation under way as tom pickering, a former statesman leading this, looking into it, the fbi has an investigation in addition to this congressional one. it's key to understand. because this was a tragedy. >> okay, so joe by your assessment did somebody in the state department make a mistake or was this a series of mistakes in several places, or can this be classified as a mistake? >> i think it's too early to call this a mistake. we're living in a volatile world. the middle east is in turmoil. and the middle east across the region for decades has consistently received threats at its embassies at its missions, its consulates. this is a tragedy. and the state department is the first agency interested, most interested in protecting its
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personnel overseas. but to determine now in the heat of the oversight and understanding what happened on the ground and the information gathering, it's still too early to tell. i really hope that we can respect the outcome of the legitimate investigations that are under way before we determine this. >> okay. was vice president biden right when he responded to criticism by pointing out that congressman ryan and others voted to cut funding for embassy security? >> this has been a long-standing concern of those who work in the state department and in other agencies that serve overseas. a diplomatic security and operations for these agencies have been cut. it was cut in the republican budget, several hundred million dollars in the last year. and that is a problem. we need to not starve resources for our people in the field. we need to ensure they have everything. the difficult choices that the state department officials have to make within tight constraints for these dollars is also something that needs to be looked at by these
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investigations. >> joel two big problems there. there's actually what happened which may be classified in any different manner. but there's also the way it was communicated to the public. were you to still be in the state department, how would you have handled getting the word out as to the truth of what happened? >> that's right, alex. really the public communications has been very challenging. in the early days even media reports were arguing that this was a mob that had hit the consulate before we began to understand more. the intelligence community was gathering facts. i do think that the way the administration communicated this was the right way at the beginning. trying to lay out what it knew at the time that it knew it. this is very clearly a fast-moving issue. but now it looks like they are getting a clearer picture after months of looking at this as to what really did happen. and it's a disturbing picture. but it seems to me that this is the kind of communication strategy that has to take place. it's a hard issue, and certainly the people at the state department are doing their best
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to share what they can. >> okay, joel rubin, good to talk to you. thanks so much, see you again. >> thanks, alex. still ahead a mood to make merchants merry. and the sorriest excuses for skipping work. stick around to watch us where we're working on "weekends with alex witt." ah. fire bad! just have to fire roast these tomatoes. do you churn your own butter too? what? this is going to give you a head start on your dinner. that seems easier sure does who are you? [ female announcer ] new progresso recipe starters. five delicious cooking sauces you combine with fresh ingredients to make amazing home-cooked meals. ♪ ambiance [ female announcer ] new progresso recipe starters. your head-start to home cooked.
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choose shows 50% opting for president obama, 47% for mitt romney. stronger sales a slow go and excuses excuses. joining me now economic analyst. welcome back. good day. >> hey, alex, how are you doing? >> i'm doing all right. especially talking about consumer confidence which jumped unexpectedly this month. the highest level since before the recession began five years ago. what's the reason for it? >> consumer confidence was up about 83.1. that was up the highest since september 2007. that really has to do with property value. the prices going up there as well as stock prices going up. and as you know, foreclosures are down and unemployment is at 7.8%. and economists are saying that that's really having an effect on the consumer psychology. and has a trickle down effect for retails. we might see retail numbers pop
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as we head into the holidays. >> the question does this continue? >> there is an index called the michelin index of consumer expectation. that's the index we should be looking at. that forecasts how the consumer is going to be thinking six months in advance. that index was up to 79.5. that's the highest it's been since july of 2007. >> all right. well, consumer confidence seems to be back. but when you talk about businesses, they seem to be still holding back on hiring why is that? >> right. well, a report came out by the manufacturers alliance for productivity and innovation. i just wanted to make sure i got that right. and they were saying a lot of these businesses don't necessarily want to put more money into hiring individuals or into their infrastructure because they're really worried about this fiscal cliff. so what that means, ben bernanke's term, fiscal cliff, basically if congress doesn't by the end of the year get this deficit in order, they're there are going to be a lot of tax hikes and spending cuts and
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businesses naturally are worried about that. >> what about this new study saying that a third of american professionals play hooky? what are the reasons? >> well, alex, they're obviously at home watching msnbc and honey boo boo. >> oh, no, not together, thanks. don't put that together. >> msnbc definitely. but really career builder did a study. they were saying that a lot of these people were about 30% are making excuses to not go into work. . so excuses, 34% didn't feel like going into work. 29% just wanted to relax. 22% claimed that it was a doctor's appointment they had to go. to and 16% wanted to just sleep in another 15% just wanted to doer rands. really, alex, the excuses some of them just say those are the basic ones. the real ones were a little more out there. my favorite one was, i didn't know i was hired. really? come on. >> 7.8% that are still unemployed. >> lisa, thank you so much. in just a moment back to the battle for the white house with
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a look at what president obama needs to do to win tuesday's debate. congressman dennis kucinich is joining me here on "weekends with alex witt."
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let's invest in our teachers... they can inspire our students. let's solve this. welcome back to "weekends with alex witt." it's just past the half hour. today vice president biden is fundraising in the northeast while basking in his post-debate glow. democrats praised mr. biden's feisty and lively performance. republicans thought differently. no surprise. saying he was disrespectful. here's how mr. biden assessed the debate yesterday. >> anyone who watched that debate, i don't think there's any doubt that congressman ryan and i, governor romney and the president, we have a fundamentally different vision for america. and truth is that i think people -- >> well, there are only two presidential debates remaining.
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we have a town hall style forum on tuesday, foreign policy debate later this month. nbc campaign cari -- hello from d.c. let's get a question to you. do you get a sense that mr. biden set up a blueprint for the president at the next debate? >> well, you know, the vice president went into this debate with a very clear directive. be aggressive about paul ryan and to sort of stop the bleeding in a sense. democrats were very dismayed as we know by president obama's performance in that thursday debate for being a little bit lackluster, for not responding to mitt romney's claims. and biden went into this with a lot of enthusiasm. i think he was really amped up for the opportunity to call paul ryan out on things that he per receives as being misconceptions, exaggerations, lack of doe tails, and went in with this very aggressively. i think democrats are very happy with his performance. >> can i ask you about your time in the spin room there in kentucky afterwards? what did the democrats say about
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the vice president's laughing and smiling during mr. ryan's responses? >> you know, it was so noticeable how much he was smierg. there were even mock twitter accounts that came up during the debate originated making fun of the fact how much biden was laughing. i talked to the vice president's son. he said one it's something he likes to do. he was having a good time doing it. also he has trouble the way that beau described it, he was having trouble keeping an straight face listening to some of the things paul ryan was saying. an adviser said if those guys are talking about how much our guy was smiling it means on the substance we were doing well. >> what about any word of democrats thinking that mr. biden may have upstaged the president? >> well, i think that he definitely raised the bar in just how much the president will be able to look at mitt romney and also be very aggressive and maybe as it's going to be a town hall for mat which i think is
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also going to be an interesting thing. there'll be real humans going skg these questions of obama, of romney. it may not be a situation where president obama will be able to be just as interrupting and intense in his responses to romney. >> carey, thanks very much. good to talk with you. real questions. tuesday's town hall will likely return the election's focus to main street issues like jobs and the economy. while president obama and mitt romney are now spending the next several days in debate prep where you can be certain the obama campaign is rewriting its play book. joining me now is ohio democratic eight-term congressman dennis kucinich. very happy to have you. thank you so much for being here, sir. >> good to be with you. >> before we get to the presidential debate coming up, i have to ask you about the vice president debate. do you think joe biden reseized the initiative after the president's performance last week? >> i'm not sure. i think certainly the vice president has a commanding presence when it comes to all
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the issues that congressman ryan could not compete with. but i have to say, i was a little bit concerned about the smiling. i think you're only allowed like one or two smiles a debate. >> okay. i was smiling at you there. what do you think happened to the president in the first debate? do you think anybody outside of his closest advisers have figured out what the play book was there? >> i think that everyone is talking about moving forward now. and in moving forward, this next debate is going to be decisive. president obama's going to have to make the case of why his re-election is important to the american people, with respect to the economy, matters of national security, and he's got to defend his record. this is something that he didn't do effectively in the first debate as we all know. he needs not only to do that, but we have to go beyond that to reconnecting with the vision that he presented to the american people in the 2008
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campaign. people really want to have this political process elevate them. too much of the process today is disspiriting and disquieting and people want to reconnect with the barack obama of 2008. >> and i would agree with you there's no reason to look back and continue talking about the debate. but for this that is out there, sir. which is that people say if mitt romney wins the election by a hair, it may be a turning point because of his performance in the debate. i put that out there. >> debates have consequences. 67 million people were watching. we saw in some polls it went from president went from 8 points up to 4 points down. look, debates have consequences. people look at the debate no matter whether there's any fact-based approach to what mitt romney was saying, he came across very well. the president didn't come across well. we have a situation where this next debate is going to matter.
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and i'm hopeful that it will result in the american people being able to not just find out where the candidates stand and what their respective records are, but we need to know what does america look like tomorrow. where are the jobs going to come from? how's the economy coming back? how's small business on the move again? how do we stop america's footprint from expanding around the world and getting us into even more wars. >> when it comes to tomorrow, sir, let's look at the very near future. because with congressional business being the topic here, house speaker john boehner said that interview last week he does not think a lame duck congress should vote on quote really big bills. do you think congress will get to a vote on the fiscal cliff before the new year? and do you think it should? >> let me think about this. lame duck shouldn't have big bills. anyhow, i think that we are in business to take care of the needs of the american people, and we should not shy away from dealing with issues that relate to the american economy, making
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government work more effectively, and also i'm concerned about america overreaching abroader, about us putting ourselves, our troops at the risk of more military involvement. we've got to be very careful with that. that's why congress has to be in and perform its role effectively as a branch of government which is supposed to be separate and independent from the executive branch. >> but with so many people looking at the economy as being a primary focus of how they will pull the levers or mark those ballots come november 6, when it comes to the fiscal cliff, on what are you willing to compromise? >> look. i don't think that there's any reason why america should go over a fiscal cliff. but look at the spending. we need to cut out these wars period. we need to end in every possible way bush tax cuts that accelerated wealth to the top. and we also need to do something about the trade deficit getting
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ready with a new trade agreement that will even be worse like nafta on steroids. we have to do something about the trade deficit which has created a threat of undermining the american economy because our trade deals, never have human rights, workers rights or environmental policy principles. is why corporations have gone abroad, taken millions of jobs out of america. i don't know why this isn't a debate in this election frankly. >> what about entitlements? how do you cut them? and do you do so? do you have to do so to ensure the survival of medicare? >> look. medicare part b that was where a big giveaway, billions of dollars to drug companies. you want to save medicare? have not for profit health care in america. the president's health care, the limitations i think of it are that it doesn't properly restrain insurance companies from continuing to raise their rates. the only way you do that is to have a not for profit system.
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then the one out of every three dollars that inevitably go for corporate profits, stock options, advertising costs to pay for it, that goes back into health care for people. there's another element, too. that is health education. we need the american people to have a chance to be educated on matters of nutrition, choices that we make. look we're responsible ultimately for our own health. and we have an ag bill right now that continues to subsidize and encourage the consumption of large amounts of sugar and fat that ultimately is going to cause the american taxpayers to have to pay for people's medical conditions that we have subsidized industries to help create those problems. >> as history has proven time and again, your home state of ohio could prove to be instrumental in this election. what are you hearing from your constituents? >> well, i'm hearing that the election is very close, that it's going to hinge on turnout. there's a lot of work being done that i can see on both sides of the aisle here where in our
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democratic neighborhoods people are working very hard to get the vote out or to get early voting accomplished. notwithstanding the fact that our republican secretary of state has tried to discourage that. on a republican side, look, republican communities are going to come out in full force. the question is going to be turnout. and on election night when you're watching all the returns come in, look at ohio. because ohio is going to determine who the president is going to be. >> representative kucinich, i hope we can have you back before you leave congress the beginning of the year. we'd love to have you. >> thank you. >> you should know also we're big fans of your daughter jackie. she'll be on with us noon tomorrow. she's a lot of fun. craig melvin has a look at what's coming up next talking about smart guys. >> thank you so much, alex. we are going to go to ohio in just a few minutes at mitt romney's rally there live. headlines in the buckeye state saying romney is on the rise there. how is the obama team planning to keep its head above water. also we're stepping up to the
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barbecue here today giving folks battle ground carolina through its sauces and all the latest on my reports on the campaign trail over the next three hours right here on msnbc. >> thanks very much, craig melvin. >> thank you. coming up next the big three, will the president adopt the vice president's debate approach next week. [ dog ] you know, i just don't think i should have to wait for it! who do you think i am, quicken loans? ♪ at quicken loans, we won't make you wait for it. our efficient, online system allows us to get you through your home loan process fast. which means you'll never have to beg for a quick closing. one more way quicken loans is engineered to amaze. bonkers, look at me when i'm talking to you. that's a good thing, but it doesn't cover everything. only about 80% of your part b medical expenses. the rest is up to you.
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can't let 'em see what you're drinking. you know, i'm glad we're both running a nice, clean race. no need to get nasty. here's your "honk if you had an affair with taylor" yard sign. looks good. [ male announcer ] fedex office. now save 50% on banners. time for the big three in topics, takeaway, town hall tussle and -- democratic strategist and republican strategist and msnbc contributor. hello, guys. we'll go with topic one here, the takeaway susan to you first. here is vice president biden making a direct appeal to the public on trust. take a listen. >> look. these guys haven't been big on medicare from the beginning. their party's not been big on medicare from the beginning. and they've always been about social security as little as you can do. look, for example, use your
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common sense. who do you trust on this? >> so susan, joe biden got paul ryan to talk about his medicare plan. anytime you talk about changing a program like medicare, you lose, right? did ryan leave a big opening here? >> well, they knew that this was going to happen the minute they chose paul ryan. so there has been some proof in some of the polling that this kind of a conversation was a responsible conversation to have. but yes, you're right. in several states narrowing down to the state of florida, it is a very big gamble. there's no doubt about it. >> could paul ryan have articulated his plan better particularly relevant to the 55 and under group? >> perhaps. but i think you always feel constrained by time and not coming off as lofty as he's been called a lot of times in debates. they were worried about this time that he would be too lofty so i think he was more cautious. >> so if nothing is done medicare would go bankrupt, right? so who should the public trust?
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has the obama camp forwarded any sort of a workable plan to save it? >> well, i think that there's a lot of work that need to be done on both sides. but the reason paul ryan doesn't do well on this plan it's a bad plan and it scares people to death. that's why they didn't want to go deeper on it. but the democrats have a long way to go on this as well. this is an important program. we need to roll up our sleeves. i think the obama folks have made great progress in some of the things that they've done but they haven't sold everyone on this. so there's a lot of work to be done on both sides. the president's plan is clearly better tan what paul ryan has put on the table thus far. >> erin, the ultimate takeaway from the debate, is there a sense it could help one side or the other? do you think it moves the needle at all? >> the snap polls show that the voters didn't really seem to think that there was a clear winner. but the romney campaign is panning joe biden's performance, which tells me that joe biden probably had the edge. because as you remember last week the obama campaign was talking about mitt romney's performance. and when you're doing that it tends to be an indicator that
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that side knows that they lost. >> as we look ahead to the town hall, what did joe biden do whether substantive or stylistic that president obama should adopt? >> well, i think that joe biden re-energized the debate and the base of the party. a lot of people wanted to jump ship were panicking. he went out and really got everyone excited again. the president needs to step up in the next debate and do his job. remember, this is the guy who told hillary clinton that you're -- he can really step it up when he chooses to step it up. he need to get a good night's sleep, don't worry about the altitude and really get in there. >> that is so random. really? that's just really a stretch on that one. anyway, so susan, you can expect the president to be a lot tougher this time around, i know. how should mitt romney approach this debate? do you think he's going to be spending a lot of timan inning openings left by paul ryan?
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>> i don't think they'll get too much into what paul ryan said in his last debate. this is about the two of them and their two visions. the think up the president will come a lot more prepared. it's a very interesting dynamic being in the town hall setting, though. the president has to be careful not to be overly aggressive. and mitt romney's biggest challenge is to come sincere as talking to people in that room, and you will gauge a feeling in the room unlike regular debates because of it being a town hall setting. you will feel that vibe in the room and it tends to, one would believe, help president obama more. >> do you get conventional wisdom, erin, on who this might favor more? do you agree with susan that it will favor potentially president obama. >> i do think it will but i think they're both going to look more sincere because they're answering people rather than the moderator or either of them. >> do you think they could mess it up here and say, well, we've
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got one more to make good on? >> no, i don't think there's going to be a knockout punch by either of them. if i was president obama, i would go spend time with bill clinton. bill clinton is a master at these town hall debates. i would study his tapes and call him and pick his brain. so i don't think it's going to be a knockout punch to either side, but both are going to be good come tuesday. >> morris, i want to ask you a question. what are you doing in paris? >> well, paris is just like cleveland, so i wanted to come over and get a feel on what's going to happen. >> right. whal are you doing? having a nice dinner? working, i hope. i'll let you keep it to yourself. >> we're going to rate the week. keep it here. we're going to keep in touch
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with paris too.
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giving you a quick look at portsmouth. romney will have performing alongside him country song artist jamie o'neill. that may be jamie right there. we'll keep an eye on that for you. we'll look at the big three, best week and worst week. in that order, i'll begin with you, erin. who's your best and worst. >> best is joe biden because he did what he needed to do and slowed mitt romney's momentum with his debate performance and the worst week is susan rice, the am bass do, because now that we know what the state department knew, it made her look bad for some of her sunday show appearances a few weeks ago. >> morris, how about you. >> your picks? >> state of ohio.
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they continue to get a lot of great publicity, if you don't win ohio, you don't go to 1600. so i think the best week from now until the owned testify election will be ohio. i know a lot of people thought i would say malarky, but i didn't want to go there. my worst week is diplomacy. the republicans continue to make the situation in libya and the death of our ambassador a political football. i think shame on them. any time an american dies they should not make a political issue of it. let the facts come out and judge then. >> susan, how about yours? >> the winner of the week was paul ryan and mitt romney. therefore he kind of has a good week. and also honorable mention to morris for being in paris 24 days before an election. and as far as the loser of the week, it goes to president obama in part because of benghazi but
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also with 24 days before an election, if you're not winning the week, you're losing the week. >> okay. all right. erin -- >> if you keep pumping him, i'm going to turn into joe biden. >> don't be angry, morris. you're in paris. >> you've been schooled it's the cleveland of europe. >> right. >> it's the cleveland of europe. i have to come here. >> no. i've got wrap this up. you guys have great weekend. all of you. thank so much for joining us here on "weekends with alex witt." up next, craig melvin. have yourself a great day. [ male announcer ] you like who you are... and you learned something along the way. this is the age of knowing what you're made of. so, why let erectile dysfunction get in your way? talk to your doctor about viagra. 20 million men already have. ask if your heart is healthy enough for sex. do not take viagra if you take nitrates for chest pain; it may cause an unsafe drop in blood pressure.
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